The Background

Jake’s Finer Foods (JFF) is a leading foodservice distributor standing out in the market with its broad catalog of restaurant supply services. Based out of Texas, JFF has earned an impressive reputation as a high-quality supplier to diverse industry segments including restaurants, schools, grocery stores, hospitals, and corporate cafeterias. It’s also trusted for its dedication to helping clients save both time and money.

The Challenges

A premier broad-line distributor and food service supplier, Jake’s Finer Foods wanted to promote their brand and their network of fellow vendors to reach a larger audience, amplify branding, and build sales volume to ultimately deliver profound customer value in a highly competitive market. This desired impact however could not be delivered with a physical trade show because:

  • Difficult event planning: Restricting venues and consolidating exhibitors in one setting was high cost, time-intensive, and narrowed target market reach.
  • Poor audience engagement: Brand messaging was easily lost and money wasted due to non-eco-friendly paper-based marketing efforts.
  • Unfocused client servicing: With busy staff and consistent booth traffic, servicing customers efficiently created a high-stress environment.
  • Unpredictable visitor traffic: Under or over-staffing at vendor booths both resulted in damaged profitability and productivity.
  • Limited inclusivity: Mandatory physical presence meant low turnout from differently-abled clients and those situated geographically far. This resulted in reduced leads and ROI.
  • Vague results: Difficulty in tracking consumer preferences and purchasing trends made it hard to understand food distribution needs and assess client needs.

Focus Areas And Solutions

JFF used their physical trade show’s pain points as a compass to provide functionality that benefits both the exhibitors and the guests, the team at vFairs provided Jake’s Finer Foods with a custom solution to host a one-of-its-kind Virtual Food Show that transformed their challenges to technology-powered opportunities.

1. Reach New Customers

Virtual events are the most efficient and effective route for businesses to expand their reach online. By identifying the value of providing access to attendees beyond a restricting physical venue, vFairs delivered an innovative mobile-friendly platform that mimicked the feel of a traditional trade show to spearhead an effortless customer and hosting experience.

Right off the bat, visitors used a quick registration form to log in and access the custom-designed event lobby that served as an exciting gateway to the Exhibit Hall alongside an abundance of other resources. Regardless of location, schedule, budget, and special needs- the event was open to all to strategically increase lead generation, sales opportunities, and attendee turnover.

2. Interactive Visitor Experience

No event should feel like a chore, this is why the vFairs’ team precisely aligned audience interest with engaging exhibitor messaging. The Video Vault was equipped with exclusive recipes, commercials, menus, etc. to deliver a delicious aesthetic. The Auditorium served as home to informative webinars, meanwhile, the Resources section enabled vendors to share valuable advice on boosting sales and writing appealing menus. These could be added to the attendees’ Swag Bag that they could later retrieve or even email to themselves.

Simple yet intuitive, personalized, and eco friendly- the attendees were able to attend the Virtual Food Show at their preferred time to be entertained, informed, and connect with a diverse range of distributors and foodservice suppliers all with the click of a button (or a tap on their mobile device).

3. Fast Lead to Sale Conversion

Jake’s Finer Foods 2018 Virtual Food Show redefined smart selling to help exhibitors manage orders and accelerate their revenue growth like no physical trade show could. A Search Products tab was provided in the navigation panel leading to a comprehensive vendor listing alongside their products, descriptions, and a direct link to their booth to trigger swift transactions.

Once redirected to their booth of choice, customers used audio/video/textual chat functions to communicate with vendor reps in an uninterrupted yet responsive setting to discuss their requirements. To complete the sale, the Order Products function allowed attendees to place order requests from the exhibitor’s catalog which were then added to their Shopping Cart, in addition to earning Casino Points to win fun prizes.

This incentivized one-stop solution allowed easy comparison between all competitors’ offerings to ensure that the guests were able to choose the best bargains without all the noise and information overload that traditional trade shows are known for.

 

The Results

Jake’s Finer Foods (JFF) strengthened its position as a progressive broad-line distributor by hosting the first of its kind Virtual Food Show. It also helped them achieve higher registration volume, extraordinary branding, insightful communications, and a unique win-win situation for both the exhibitors and customers as captured by the reporting dashboard:

  • Quick lead generation: Instead of long queues and slow registration processes, the straightforward online registration form facilitated an impressive 278 unique registrations.
  • Improved accessibility: The 13-day event allowed customers to not be time-bound; they participated without feeling rushed, many coming back for more information and purchasing.
  • Unparalleled cost savings: Fast, detailed-driven, and dedicated project managers deployed a hassle-free event at a fraction of traditional trade show hosting costs.
  • Exhibitor diversity: 53 distinct vendors participated with customized booths, supercharged branding, and creative multimedia promotional content to accomplish 1,258 total booth visits.
  • Measurable ROI: Booth staff interacted with attendees, collected orders, responded to inquiries, monitored real-time traffic, and gathered pivotal data to determine which foodservice solutions generated maximum revenue to structure smarter future business initiatives.

Following the unprecedented success of Jake’s Finer Foods 2018 Virtual Food Show, Natalie Carter’s (Director of Marketing) first impression of this change in event hosting strategy also indicates that this is the first one of many more for us to look forward to:

“We love the whole vFairs experience. The event is easy to navigate and the platform has some fantastic features to really drive engagement and excitement. This format brings today’s latest technology to our industry, and we love the convenience.”

 

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